Special to ESPN.com
It's the concept so sleazy that even Don King isn't involved. It's the idea so brainless that the Bob Knight sitcom is "Inside The Actors Studio" by comparison. It's the answer to the question, "What happens when a TV executive wants the next big thing after wife-swapping?"
And, because this is TV, people are fighting over who had the idea first.
Now, before we get to your calls for everyone involved to be thrown into a Turkish prison for a healthy dose of smartening-up, let's recap.
NBC is claiming that Fox stole its idea for a boxing reality show. NBC has a show on the fall schedule called "The Contender," and accuses Fox of stealing its idea and then hooking up with Oscar De La Hoya for a show called "The Next Great Champ."
A good idea, too, because someone named Leigh Ann Burton said De La Hoya stole the idea from her "House Of Pain" idea, which was registered with the Writers Guild of America.
You not only can't make this stuff up, you can't make up the people who could make this stuff up. What you could do is find all these people, corner them and beat them with sticks until they promise never to think out loud on any subject ever again, but they all have bodyguards.
But you can't let them get away with this stuff, because they're all thieves richly deserving of beatings and jail time, and we can prove it.
One, there are boxing reality shows on television already, called "boxing," in which trained professionals hit each other really hard for money. The only thing these three show concepts lack is the "trained professionals" aspect.
Two, most boxing matches feature far weirder stuff than any member of the Writers Guild of America could come up with even after a six-day run on Peruvian Marching Powder. Or do the words "Mike Tyson" not ring a bell for you?
Three, amateurs beating each other up was already covered with far more cleverness and gore on MTV's "Celebrity Deathmatch." True, those fighters were clay figures, but watching Bill Gates, the Backstreet Boys or Barbra Streisand torn to bits had its own malignant purity to it.
Four, we've had Tonya Harding, William Perry, Manute Bol and Butterbean Esch already fighting for our stilted amusement, so how could some 24-year-old administrative assistant with a full plastic surgery workup top that?
Five, this doesn't even touch the history, from King and Bob Arum going back to the Norris boys and Tex Rickard. This is a sport whose only real value is that it keeps the swine who have run the sport from exerting their felonious dreams on the rest of us.
And six, these shows are being portrayed as competitions for aspiring boxers, who will win enough money to get into the sport, and we all know what happens to boxers and their money.
I mean, Jumping Jesus, why don't they just call it "Fresh Meat For The Sharks" and be done with it? What next, toddlers in piņatas?
Boxing, frankly, has whored itself out so many times with so many people in so many ways that any boxing reality show is by its very existence plagiarism of the puniest form. There is nothing more real than an actual fist in an actual face, nothing more compelling than champions who are broke, nothing more morbidly fascinating than promoters so brazen that they don't wear ski masks over their faces.
So, no, we don't need these three shows. Moreover, we absolutely do not want to see the creators of these three shows arguing over who came up with the idea first. They should be arguing about something more dignified, like who thought of filling a paper bag with dog business, putting it on someone's porch and setting it on fire.
And if they can't manage that, we still are open to the idea of beatings followed by jail. They can even have the rights to the tapes of them being beaten and jailed, that's how good-hearted we are about it. That really will be must-see TV.
They'll end up rich, bruised, behind bars and out of our hair, hopefully for good. Plus, the time in stir will allow them to conjure up with the next round of reality shows, to wit:
"Jousting For Dollars."
"Survivor: Minefield Island."
"Who Wants To Be A Mob Enforcer?"
That, or another Golden Girls marathon.
Ray Ratto is a columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle and a regular contributor to ESPN.com